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Interview Questions

Employers often ask us what types of questions they should ask in their interviews to determine if the candidate has the "soft skills" necessary for the job.  Soft skills are intangible and difficult to quantify absent personality tests and personal observation.  However, in this section we provide the interviewer with some soft skill definitions and suggested questions to assist in assuring a good fit to the position.

Conflict Resolution: Good people managers are those that have conflict resolution skills. Good conflict resolution skills enable the Manager to work with a variety of people at many levels in the organization to create winning solutions to problems while maintaining positive relationships.  This ability allows the Manager to bring conflicts out into the open and resolve disagreements using facts to reach a decision. Manager candidates with this ability view disagreements as healthy expressions of differing views which is the genesis of better ideas and solutions.  The decision is therefore made on the quality of the idea, not the personalities or the position held.  Here are some questions to help determine the level of the candidate's skills.

Q: Sometimes it's necessary to ferret out disagreements in a work team, and other times it seems better to avoid it or sacrifice your own needs to keep the peace. Tell me about a situation where you had to make a choice.

Q: Often enough, arguments develop within a work group. Describe a situation where this happened in a work group, and tell me what you did to help resolve the dispute.

Q: Sometimes disputes are not what they appear to be.  Often there are hidden or underlying causes. Describe a time where you were able to uncover the true causes of a dispute, and tell me how you handled it.

Q: Power struggles are win-lose situations and they are always difficult to deal with. Tell me about a time when you successfully dealt with a power struggle and turned it into a win-win situation.

  Diversity Management: The ability to effectively employ and manage a diverse workforce. People with these skills are able to foster appreciation for differences in people's values, lifestyle, gender, faith, race, ethnicity, marital status or sexual orientation.  They are able to look beyond their personal prejudices and see the differences as opportunity for learning new approaches to work. They confront racist, sexist or other behaviors that attack others, and they are sensitive to the needs of a diverse workforce and corporate culture.

Q. Tell me about a situation or experience dealing with people whose background, culture, lifestyle or values are different than your own.

Q. Sometimes we rely on stereotypes about people whose background is different.  This can either strain a working relationship or it can become a productive one. Tell me about a situation like this you have experienced.

Q. Sometimes people make sexist, racist or homophobic comments that attack or undermine a member of the work team. Recall for me a time when you witnessed this, and tell me how you responded.

 

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work"
 -- Thomas Edison

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